Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's operas comprise 22 musical dramas in a variety of genres. They range from the small-scale, derivative works of his youth to the full-fledged operas of his maturity. Three of the works were abandoned before completion and were not performed until many years after the composer's death. His mature works are all considered classics and have never been out of the repertory of the world's opera houses.
From a very young age Mozart had, according to opera analyst David Cairns, "an extraordinary capacity [...] for seizing on and assimilating whatever in a newly encountered style (was) most useful to him". In a letter to his father, dated 7 February 1778, Mozart wrote, "As you know, I can more or less adopt or imitate any kind and style of composition". He used this gift to break new ground, becoming simultaneously "assimilator, perfector and innovator". Thus, his early works follow the traditional forms of the Italian opera seria and opera buffa as well as the German Singspiel. In his maturity, according to music writer Nicholas Kenyon, he "enhanced all of these forms with the richness of his innovation", and, in Don Giovanni, he achieved a synthesis of the two Italian styles, including a seria character in Donna Anna, buffa characters in Leporello and Zerlina, and a mixed seria-buffa character in Donna Elvira.
Discussing a selection of works from Daniel Defoe, Wagner and Mozart, Sennett tracks these shifting attitudes by exploring different operas throughout history ... But Mozart's genius flourished in dramatising act of seduction and deception, while the librettos of his operas gravitate to the theme of social appearances.